The OEC’s democracy work will be in direct support of our mission to ensure all Ohioans have access to clean air, water and land. In order to make sure this happens, Ohio’s democracy must be running in tip-top shape.
We began our work in earnest in the fall of 2017, joining the Fair Districts=Fair Elections Coalition working to bring about a process to fix our gerrymandered congressional districts. This work resulted in the passage of the bipartisan Issue 1 during the May 2018 primary election, providing a fix for our gerrymandered districts, starting with the 2022 congressional maps.
With each election comes questions about voting rights of people across the state. We want to keep voters voting and speaking up for the values they believe in. We believe voting is a fundamental right, and we’re encouraged by work across the state to keep our elected officials accountable.
Climate change is known to impact low-income and minority communities more than other areas, yet those individuals often have lost their voice and faith in the system that should be representing them. The OEC’s definition of success for its voting rights program is that every Ohioan has their right to vote protected, an easy and accessible voting process, and confidence their vote will count. Ohioans are better off when their voices are heard, and that can be achieved when we support our diverse electorate, including communities with large minority and low-income populations, people of color, and rural and suburban working families.
The OEC’s voting rights program will strive for the following long-term goals:
Address and advocate for constitutional amendments. The OEC will engage in issues such as automatic voter registration, increased and/or automatic voting by mail, and campaign finance reform.
Push for legislative and administrative reform. Current legislative and administrative processes hinder and suppress our basic American right to vote. The OEC will work to remove voter ID requirements; stop voter roll purges and restore purged voters; disseminate vote-by-mail applications to registered voters during elections; expand early voter dates; restore Magic Week; and standardize voter files across all counties.
Influence county boards of elections to expand voting access. Local elections create a platform for communities to engage in issues that permeate their lives each day. In a large state that has 88 counties, it is imperative to thoroughly understand all 88 Boards of Elections to ensure that their decisions do not adversely impact underrepresented voting communities. The OEC will use its deep relationships with decision makers and community grasstop leaders to advocate for expanding early voting days and hours for local elections; send vote-by-mail applications to registered voters; improve voting center accessibility; and assist in communities with limited transportation options.
As more issues come to light, the OEC will be eager to get involved. If Ohio’s democracy isn’t functioning properly, it is harder to elect politicians who are truly accountable to voters. We know that Ohioans care about having clean air, clean land and healthy land, so we will use every available tool at our disposal to fix our democracy and ensure a healthy future.